Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7
It’s Advent. We’re waiting for the celebration of Christmas. Paul says, “the Lord is near!” So how should we behave? What should our lives look like?
Well, Paul says that we should “rejoice in the Lord, always.” And that makes sense, doesn’t it? We’re always happy when Christmas is coming. And we should be even happier to think that Jesus is coming again!
But what about his second instruction? Paul says that because Jesus is near, you ought to “Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.” Huh?!? Why should Jesus’ coming motivate us to be “reasonable”?
Other translations try to get across the sense of this word in different ways. Some say we ought to have a gentle spirit, or a spirit of fairness or moderation. We should be considerate. My Greek dictionary offers the words yielding or kind.
What do all these words have in common? They are all connected to the idea of bending, of not insisting on your own way, of making accommodation for others.
Why would a person be unreasonable, unyielding, inflexible? Perhaps we act this way when we are afraid that we will lose. We must defend ourselves and our things. We can’t afford to give an inch.
But how are we different now? We know that Jesus is near. We know that his promise is sure. And we know that we have a treasure that no one can take from us.
Look at the world around us. Look at the evils and dangers. Can any of them take away the gift God has given you? No. That’s why you can afford to relax, to be flexible, to bend for others, to give.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, teach me to bend and not to break, to hold and not to grasp, to receive and rejoice and to wait for you. Amen.